Friday, May 23, 2008

Regional Immigration Policy

Buffalo Ideas responds to the Cleveland EB-5 visa initiative:

[Vivek] Wadhwa is encouraging Cleveland to put together a marketing pitch to immigrants located in tech heavy areas like the Silicon Valley and Boston to encourage them to take advantage of low cost of living, without 2 hour commutes, access to universities and quality labor, incubator space and venture capital combined with the benefit of obtaining a green card.

The effort needs a champion, whose sole job is to drive recruitment and line up the necessary resources. Imagine the impact of subsidizing an effort to attract the energy and talents of individual entrepreneurs instead of spending millions as we do now on pursuing an individual company.

I like the idea of pursuing this approach in Buffalo, what do you think?

I'll tell you what I think. Western New York should get together with Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and Northern West Virginia in crafting a comprehensive human capital attraction strategy that includes high skilled immigrants. Congress is considering a fast track Green Card program and the US Representatives (e.g. Tim Ryan) from the above areas should be involved in this legislation.

The benefits of high skilled immigrants to a regional economy are well documented. But you don't have to take my word for it. The American Immigration Law Foundation, among other policy analysts, has studied the issue. Your US Representative can take action today to help your shrinking city. I would think that legislation improving mega-regional job creation would interest every Rust Belt citizen.

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